From a leading global expert, how the world’s shift from growing food to growing fuel has led to a new epidemic of starvation—and worldwide food insecurity
“The tank of a midsized car holds roughly thirteen gallons. To make thirteen gallons of ethanol, almost eight hundred pounds of corn have to be destroyed. With eight hundred pounds of corn, a Mexican or Zambian child can get enough to eat for one year.” —from Betting on Famine
Few know that world hunger was very nearly eradicated in our lifetimes. In the past five years, however, widespread starvation has suddenly reappeared, and chronic hunger is a major issue on every continent.
In an extensive investigation of this disturbing shift, Jean Ziegler—one of the world’s leading food experts—lays out in clear and accessible terms the complex global causes of the new hunger crisis. Ziegler’s wide-ranging and fascinating examination focuses on how the new sustainable revolution in energy production has diverted millions of acres of corn, soy, wheat, and other grain crops from food to fuel. The results, he shows, have been sudden and startling, with declining food reserves sending prices to record highs and a new global commodities market in ethanol and other biofuels gobbling up arable lands in nearly every continent on earth.
Like Raj Patel’s pathbreaking Stuffed and Starved, Betting on Famine will enlighten the millions of Americans concerned about the politics of food at home—and about the forces that prevent us from feeding the world’s children.
What People Are Saying
“An impassioned and highly readable account of a major tragedy of our time. Ziegler brings together singular expertise and years of on-the-ground testimony in a pointed analysis that we can ignore only at our collective peril. ” Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Fight for the Right to Water
“Passionate, well-researched, objective, and illuminating. . . . When we close this book, indignant, we know that those who die of hunger are victims of money and power. ” L’Express
“Betting on Famine is the seminal book on global poverty and hunger. . . . Ziegler’s compelling narrative, much of it based on firsthand experience, tells the heartbreaking and gripping story of how rapacious speculators and complicit bureaucrats are starving a billion people. . . . A persuasive call to action.” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America
“Ziegler puts the desperation, sadness, and outrage of continuing hunger and malnutrition into the bright light of day—and, in doing so, underscores the absolute insanity of the biofuel scam and the notion that we should be burning food to make motor fuel. This book is Ziegler’s cri de coeur. It deserves attention. Even more, it demands action. ” Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of Power Hungry: The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future
“[C]omplex and rich. . . . In a learned and enticing manner, [Ziegler] intertwines timely data and observations of the terrain with illuminating descriptions of the inner workings of international organizations.” Le Temps